The official lottery is a state-run gambling venture that raises money for public and private endeavors. In the United States, lotteries are divided into state lottery games and multi-jurisdictional lottery games. State lottery games are only available to play within the state, while multi-jurisdictional lottery games are available to anyone in the country who wants to participate. These games are usually offered in multiple forms, including scratch-off tickets, online games, and mobile apps. The history of the lottery in the United States is complex and has many layers.
The first modern government-run lotteries were created in the mid-1900s and were designed to raise money for public services. Since then, they have grown to include a number of different games. Individual lottery games differ, but most offer three-digit and four-digit games akin to numbers games, keno, or video lottery terminals. In addition, most states offer instant lottery games, which are similar to scratch-off tickets.
In addition to the state-run lotteries, the United States has a large number of independent operators that operate multi-state lottery games. The most popular of these are Powerball and Mega Millions. The Illinois Lottery is a member of both Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) and the National Lottery Games, and its drawing results are broadcast nationally via Chicago cable superstation WGN.
Despite the fact that the odds of winning are astronomically long, people continue to buy tickets for a chance to get rich quick. This is due to a combination of the actual odds of winning and a meritocratic belief that the lottery will somehow make us all rich someday.